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Glam metal (also known as hair metal) is a subgenre of heavy metal that arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the United States, particularly on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip music scene. It was popular throughout the 1980s and briefly in the early 1990s, combining the flamboyant look of glam rock and playing a power-chord based hard rock musical style.

Musically, glam metal songs are traditional heavy metal songs with pop-influenced catchy hooks and guitar riffs. Like other heavy metal songs of the 1980s, they often feature shred guitar solos. Glam metal performers became infamous for their debauched lifestyles of late-night parties (widely covered in the tabloid press), very long backcombed hair, use of make-up, gaudy clothing and accessories (chiefly consisting of tight denim or leather jeans, spandex, and headbands). Many of these traits were reminiscent of glam rock.


Sub-genre collaborators (shared with Hard Rock and Heavy Metal):
  • 666sharon666 (Leader)

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RATT Out Of The Cellar Album Cover Out Of The Cellar
4.39 | 26 ratings
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WINGER Winger Album Cover Winger
4.35 | 20 ratings
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RATT Invasion Of Your Privacy Album Cover Invasion Of Your Privacy
4.34 | 20 ratings
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MÖTLEY CRÜE Shout At The Devil Album Cover Shout At The Devil
4.18 | 46 ratings
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DOKKEN Under Lock And Key Album Cover Under Lock And Key
4.19 | 28 ratings
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KIX Hot Wire Album Cover Hot Wire
4.38 | 7 ratings
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CINDERELLA Night Songs Album Cover Night Songs
4.16 | 20 ratings
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L.A. GUNS L.A. Guns Album Cover L.A. Guns
4.23 | 11 ratings
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LITA FORD Dancin' on the Edge Album Cover Dancin' on the Edge
4.56 | 4 ratings
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DEF LEPPARD Pyromania Album Cover Pyromania
4.07 | 54 ratings
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JOHN NORUM Total Control Album Cover Total Control
4.50 | 4 ratings
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STRYPER Murder By Pride Album Cover Murder By Pride
4.29 | 6 ratings
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HARDCORE SUPERSTAR Thank You (for Letting Us Be Ourselves)

Album · 2001 · Glam Metal
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The third album of Swedish sleaze/glam rockers Hardcore Superstar is a definite improvement over their previous records. The sound is much cleaner. The songwriting strikes a better balance between musicality and the raw party-animal spirit the band aims to convey with their music. Overall, this album comes across as a much more polished and professional affair relative to the previous records.

Despite the clear improvements, this is not an album I'd recommend outside the circle of hardcore aficionados of the Swedish sleaze/glam rock revival of the 1990s. It has a few decent rockers, with catchy choruses and good guitar work. Songs like "Not Dancing, Wanna Know Why?", the mellow ballad "Shame" and "Just Another Score" make for good car or party music. There's enough energy and melody in these tracks to entertain for a handful of minutes. But the album quickly loses steam, delving deeper and deeper into a rabbit hole made of dubious reggaetons ("Smoke'Em"), songs that leave the listener with a suspicious sense of deja-vu ("Wimpy Sister", play spot-the-difference with "Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance"), mediocre rockers ("Do Me That Favour", That's My Life", "Riding with the King") and sappy ballads ("Dear Old Fame", "Mother's Love").

Overall, I'd say two-thirds of the material on this album is forgettable, and a good third borders on the annoying. It is a pity because on those three / four songs where things fall into place, Hardcore Superstar do manage to sound convincing and compelling. But there is just too much mediocre material here to rate this album higher than this.

PANTERA Metal Magic

Album · 1983 · Glam Metal
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Some people think this is the worst metal album, if not THE worst album of all time. It's bad, but not that bad.

I'll Be Alright has some nice riffs, and Biggest Part of Me is catchy and cheesy in the best way. Other than that, there's absolutely nothing to praise.

The vocals are pretty bad, the production is rough, and the lyrics are atrocious. Some of the music is listenable, though. While no songs other than the earlier two I mentioned provide anything of quality, they aren't abhorrent or overly offensive. The ratings this thing gets would have a listener anticipating aural hell, as it's presented in a way that it's not only bad, but absolutely unlistenable and possibly painful.

In actuality, it's a bad album, nothing I'd ever spin for pleasure. But it's no worse than that; just a bad glam album with every bad glam trope you can think of. Nothing that makes you want to tear your hair out or throw up. Most likely, the biggest reason this album is painted this way is because it's compared to Pantera's later works, which many consider groove metal masterpieces and core foundations of 90's metal. Of course this album and their other pre 90's material pales in comparison, so much so that they appear offensive; a hideous blemish in a legendary band's career.

If someone was playing this in their car and I had never heard it before, I'd just think "Damn, that's some bad glam." However, I might also find myself headbanging to a track or two. And then I would never think of it again. It's poor and forgettable, but not nearly as bad as it's made out to be.

The album cover is so bad it's funny, and because this album has become a joke in itself, it really works. A definite positive.

HARD KNOX Psyco's R Us

Album · 1993 · Glam Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Glam metal had a good run of lasting from the late 70s to the early 90s before going extinct like the dinosaurs getting hit with an asteroid called grunge. But hey, there were some fortunes made with those pink spandex and hairspray videos. While the glam rock 2.0 scene got its start with bands such as Mötley Crue, Quiet Riot, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Dokken, by 1986 it seems every rock musician in the universe was jumping on the bandwagon however for every band like Poison, Skid Row or Warrant that found heavy rotation with videos on MTV and selling millions of albums, there were legions of wannabes who could muster up the chops to craft decent glam metal but didn’t quite have the cojones to stand out of the pack. In other words glam metal was stuffed to the brim with mediocre bands that were great at imitating but not able to forge an original spin.

That was true for many L.A. bands on the Sunset Strip so just imagine how much harder it would be to break into the glam boyz club if you’re from Helper, Utah. That’s where the band HARD KNOX came from. It’s just a little town situated a hundred miles or so south of Salt Lake City. HARD KNOX was one of countless glam metal bands that came to the party too late and arrived well after Nirvana and Alice In Chains had started the party next door. In fact many music lovers had already left before HARD KNOX barely got started but i guess things move on a different timeline in Utah. This short-lived band released this sole album PSYCHO’S R US which if you’re old enough will see from the cover art that it’s a play on the old Toyz R Us store chain. This band consisted of Therron Arrington (vocals), Chris Gigliotti (guitar), Perry "Tazman" Murphy (guitar), Kenny Deland (bass) and Bryant Watson (drums) and due to the fact this album pretty much flopped and the band broke up, little info exists.

This is a pretty standard glam metal album that sound like many bands of the late 80s. Think Dirty Looks, Dangerous Toys and Kix and you’re totally on the right track. There is also a wink and a nod to more popular bands like Skid Row and Guns N Roses but basically HARD KNOX was the epitome of a generic glam metal band that could check off all the boxes but offered little in terms of taking the genre in a new direction. PSCYHO’S R US sounds like any old glam metal album from the 1987 timeline so not only was the band late to the party but sounded quite dated because even glam metal bands like Ratt, Extreme and Poison had moved on and branched out in different directions by 1993. This original CD is now considered a collector’s item due to the fact so few copies were made but the album found a remastered reissue in 2016 on the Divebomb label as retro glam metal has made a comeback and some of the obscure artists like HARD KNOX always sound better decades down the road than in context with the swarms of similar sounding bands that existed at the time of release.

HARD KNOX really does check off all the late 80s glam metal boxes with bluesy pop influenced guitar riffs and energetic anthems about silly banal subject matter. Just check out some of the song titles like “Feels So Good” and “You’re A Mess” and you can just picture the spandex, makeup and overly androgynous visuals including the beloved choreographic kicking scenes in videos! Despite the cliche derivative nature of PSYCHO’S R US, this is a decent glam metal album chock full of dirty guitar distortion, chunky riffs, energetic fast tempo performances and even a power ballad in the form of “Not So Bad,” however Therron Arrington’s vocals are definitely an acquired taste and none of the tracks have that extra oomf that makes any of them memorable especially when compared to classic albums of the same genre. In the end not only was it too little too late for HARD KNOX but for me this is just an average run of the mill glam metal album that in my book doesn’t really deserve more than a listen or two. OK but nothing more.


Album · 2019 · Glam Metal
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Kev Rowland
It doesn’t seem to matter who he has with him (although fellow ex-Hanoi Rocks bassist Sam Yaffa is a constant), Monroe will always continue to put out albums which sound just like Michael Monroe. I remember when Hanoi Rocks burst out of Finland and everyone was stunned by this band who looked and sounded as if they had just come off the Strip, and in many ways, he just has not changed. The title cut includes a guest appearance from none other than by Captain Sensible of The Damned. “It sometimes seems like everybody’s pissing on their own parade,” says Monroe,“whether that’s voting stupid people into power and then complaining about them or whatever, but I’m all about living with a P.M.A. – positive mental attitude – and I’ll never allow myself to be forced away from that.”

The only issue is that however he tries to push himself forward as an angry young man wearing make up and being glam to the max, he is now in his late Fifties and the anger and venom is no longer there. This is an album crying for an outside producer to maintain edge and lose the overarching smoothness which pervades every note. They may look fierce and menacing on the cover, but all of that is lost when one actually listens to the music. It is pleasant, and it is fun, but I must confess I would still much rather listen to ‘Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks.’

POISON Seven Days Live

Live album · 2008 · Glam Metal
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Vim Fuego
OK, so I’m not a huge Poison fan. I was right into them at one stage though. I listened to “Open Up and Say... aah!” til the tape wore out (yes, back in the 80s), and I own “Look What The Cat Dragged In”, but then I stopped listening some time around the time I first heard “Unskinny Bop”. Being bored in lockdown, I had a quick squiz through my CD collection at a few albums I hadn’t listened to much, and came across “Seven Days Live”.

I don’t actually remember buying this particular album, let alone listening to it, and can’t understand why I would have bought it in the first place. After all, I parted company with Bret Michaels and the boys in the early 90s. I was in search of harder, faster music, and they certainly weren’t producing it. And besides, no self-respecting thrasher would admit to owning a Poison album. But I must have dragged this thing out of a bargain bin at some time. Poison were always the butt of jokes for their massive hairspray abuse, feminine looks, and CC De Ville’s supposed shortcomings as a guitar player. By the time this was recorded in early 1993, CC had been ejected due to tension in the band caused by his drug abuse problems, and hotshot guitar hero Richie Kotzen had taken his place. There was a joke circulating that Kotzen would have to wear boxing gloves to play as poorly as De Ville. Funny, but unkind.

So not being familiar with Kotzen-era Poison, this is all pretty new to me. What do we have? The first couple of songs I had no fucking idea about. Bland glam pabulum. This doesn’t seem promising. If the whole album is like this, it’s going to be hard going to get through this. Third song “Ride The Wind”? Oh fuck, I HAVE heard this before! I thought it was Bon Jovi. And no, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

The next track is “Good Love”, from “Open Up...”, but I didn’t recognise it at first because it had more of a blues rock swagger than the studio original. Yeah, nah, don’t fuck with it. It wasn’t the best song ever written to start with, but if you’re going to do it different, at least do it better!

“Your Mamma Don’t Dance”, the band’s infamous Loggins and Messina cover, has a 12 bar blues swagger missing from their studio version. This time it improved the song, bringing it closer to the Loggins and Messina version. It’s still a silly party anthem.

Brett announced “Body Talk” was off “Native Tongue” so I don’t know it, but this ain’t too bad. Bobby Dall’s bass is more than solid, and these guys nailed the backing vocals. Kotzen finally lets rip with a too short solo, and Michaels proves he’s actually a pretty fucking good singer. Who’d a thought it? I hadn’t. And then Kotzen comes back for a longer, more satisfying solo. And apparently he cut it off short, because it was meant to be Brett’s piss stop song. Never mind...

You know that horrible taste you get in the back of your throat when you almost-but-don’t-quite vomit? Yeah, that’s “Something To Believe In”. Being live doesn’t improve it.

And “Stand”. More wimpy bollocks which I had heard before, but this time thinking it was Extreme. I really wasn’t paying much attention to these bands at the time these songs came out. I have no idea who these power ballads belonged to because I was more concerned with Sepultura’s changing sound, whether Bolt Thrower’s bottom end could actually wreck your speakers, and looking forward to what Entombed were going to do next.

“Fallen Angel” was a rare (for Poison’s first two albums) thoughtful song. It’s about the pitfalls of seeking fame and fortune in the big city, which the band knew about too well. It seems to have some deeper meaning to them than some of the other songs. It could have been a weepy ballad, but it’s a driven rocker instead. It’s one of the highlights of the whole show.

“Look what The Cat Dragged In” was silly, harmless fun when it was released, and it’s silly harmless fun here. It’s the epitome of what glam metal was supposed to be all about. Rikki Rockett punctuated it with a drum solo, and you know what? He’s not bad. No, he’s not Nico McBrain or George Kollias, but he knows a good rock groove when he hears it. And the solo isn’t too long, so no chance for it to get boring.

Blame the Black Crowes for “Until You Suffer Some (Fire & Ice)”. They made everyone think Southern rock was cool again. Hey, it never wasn’t cool, but the Crowes inspired mush like this.

The band really shines on “7 Days Over You”. Yes, it’s more blues rock, but this time it’s done well. It’s one of those week-long hungover break-up songs, when you realise she’s not worth it. It’s the best of the Kotzen-era songs. He shows he’s got the wailing licks and rocking chops to make a real go of this sort of music.

And so just when you thought Poison had got too mature and serious, up pops the dopey duo of double entendre filled sexytime songs in “Unskinny Bop” and “Talk Dirty To Me”. These are the sort of dumb fun anthems that made cock rock popular in the first place, but also ultimately led to it’s demise.

Or was it the ballads? Nobody ever out-ballad-ed “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, the quintessential acoustic glam weepy. Michaels and Kotzen together on guitar add an extra layer to the original. And that voice. No, he’s not one of the all-time great singers, but this is a guy who had perfected his craft through years and years on the road, and can connect with his audience.

Imagine finishing a show on such a downer. Well, yeah, maybe a band like My Dying Bride could finish on something melancholic, but this is supposed to be one of the ultimate party rock bands, so the finale is a belting version of “Nothin’ But A Good Time”. And this is what this is – a band having a good time, with a crowd also having a good time as a means of escaping their regular workaday lives. It’s fun, and unapologetically so.

Yeah, so Kotzen didn’t last too long after this. He turned out to be human filth and got caught fucking Rikki Rockett’s missus, so got booted from the band later in 1993. Poison sounded different with him – more mature and subtle, but a lot less chaotic and fun. He was replaced by Blues Saraceno, and eventually CC made up with Bret and got back into the Poison fold.

OK, I gotta say it. Bret, and the rest of the fellas onstage at the Hammersmith Apollo on April 23 1993, that was actually a pretty fucking good time.

I still don’t know where the fuck this CD came from though.

glam metal movie reviews

NELSON After The Rain (VHS)

Movie · 1991 · Glam Metal
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1967/ 1976
A simple promotional VHS is this with 3 songs from their debut album, one previously unreleased and interview and various footages. Not bad at all.

The music is a melodic Glam Metal without surprises but good. The writing is correct.

The interview and various footages (between the songs) are good as a TV special and for promotional use, because for the rest, in my opinion, nothing of special are contained.

In definitive view: Nelson is a great band with a great songs, if you love melodic Glam Metal. This VHS is a promotional issue and nothing more. But in a Metal discography not disfigure.

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